What does heart disease have to do with infertility? At first glance, it may seem like an odd combination, but infertility and heart disease are more closely linked than you may think.

UNC Fertility’s Dr. Steven Young has compiled five facts that shed some light on this interesting connection:

Heart Disease and Infertility Fact #1

Studies show that infertility may be a red flag for health issues later in life. Both women and men with infertility have an increased risk for developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Heart Disease and Infertility Fact #2

Women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) tend to have higher rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar–all of which are risk factors for heart disease. PCOS is a hormone imbalance that can affect menstruation and ovulation. Symptoms include irregular menstruation, hair loss, acne, depression, and insulin issues. If left untreated, it can have other long-term consequences for a woman’s health.

Heart Disease and Infertility Fact #3

Men with infertility face a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse problems. It’s unclear if the heart disease or diabetes causes the infertility, or vice versa. Hormonal or environmental factors may also be to blame. Being exposed to an adverse environment as a fetus may also play a role in both fertility and general health later in life.

Heart Disease and Infertility Fact #4

Often, otherwise healthy men don’t realize they’re at risk for metabolic disease until they visit a fertility specialist to discuss reproductive issues. Their fertility work up–sperm health, hormone evaluations, and blood work–can also provide valuable information about their current general health, and potential future health concerns.

Heart Disease and Infertility Fact #5

The good news is that there are steps you can take to mitigate your chances of developing health issues. While you can’t change your DNA, you can change your lifestyle. Stress reduction techniques, a balanced diet, and regular exercise increase your overall health and well-being. Living a healthy lifestyle can also improve your fertility and decrease your blood pressure.

Learn more about how a getting a baseline assessment of your fertility at

UNC Fertility can also provide valuable information about your general health. Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, visit www.uncfertility.com or call 919-908-0000.